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Sept 20, 2006

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA  98604
(360) 687-3087 - Fax:  (360) 687-2973
alra@governance.net

Web Address: http://www.landrights.org
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE - Washington, DC 20003
landrightsnet@yahoo.com -- (202) 329-3574

Bush Administration Removing Recreation From Forests

Historic CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Camp To Be Burned By Forest Service - families to be ejected

Urgent Action Required

Forest Service Permittees Face Removal

Bush Administration Policy has the Forest Service getting rid of "exclusive use"  throughout the National Forest System.

Family recreation is under attack.  Permit cabin use is being subtly undermined.

*****See Action Items Below.


Sound familiar?  The Forest Service wants to remove people from the forests.  They say they want public use but really they want no use.

The Bush Administration is continuing the anti-people recreation policies of the Clinton Administration. 

Here is one current example:

The Forest Service has arbitrarily decided that the old and historic buildings of the Smokey Creek CCC Camp site are no longer serviceable and is planning to burn the former CCC camp to the ground.   This old and historic CCC camp is located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Southwest Washington State, North of the Columbia River.

Smokey Creek CCC Camp is leased to the Mountain View Recreation Club that has used and maintained the camp for 47 years.  A lot of time, care, sweat and labor has gone into making this camp a wonderful family experience.

Part of the Club's permit with the Forest Service requires that that camp be made available to the public.  So the public also gains from private initiative and investment.

The Forest Service has given a deadline of October 1st  to the camp users to vacate the camp.  Sometime after that date burning will eliminate the camp from any possible future use.  It will just become largely unused forest with no direct citizen involvement.

How does the public benefit by burning down this camp?

Is this why Bush supporters voted for him?

This is part of a larger nationwide Forest Service policy to remove what they call "exclusive use" of not just Smokey Creek, but many other camps and recreation sites across the country.  This anti-recreation policy threatens tens of thousands of cabin permittees, recreation permittees and permittees of other types of uses in Forest Service areas nationwide. 

*****
A similar attempt by the Bureau of Reclamation to eliminate "exclusive use" from Lake Berryessa in California was greatly modified last year after readers of our   e-mails raised a hue and cry across the country.  Your letters, testimony and phone calls to the Bureau of Reclamation and your Congressman and Senators caused the Bush Administration to re-evaluate their position. It was not by any means a perfect solution but it helped keep the lake open.   You can change the Forest Service position on Smokey Creek by making your calls. 

The Mountain View Recreation Club has done a terrific job of taking care of the camp over 47 years according to letters from the Forest Service.

Fifty families participate in this club along with many of their friends and relatives.  The emphasis is on camping and horseback trail riding.  It is a wonderful place for kids.  Many thousands of use days have occurred that would not have happened if the camp did not exist.  Those use day's will all disappear if the Forest Service gets its way and removes the camp.

By using the code word "exclusive use" the Forest Service tries to hide their real agenda of eliminating any use.  It is the tragedy of the commons revisited.  By eliminating people who place a value on taking care of the resource, the agency supposedly makes it available to all the general public.  By not being specifically involved in a parcel of land, the public does not place the care or invest time in the land.  The real result is that nobody uses the area and the public and the land are the losers. 

With the people who care about Smokey Creek eliminated, the public is gradually eliminated.

By its permit, the camp already must be available to other groups.  Thus the general public benefits from private stewardship and the forest benefits because real people take responsibility for managing and caring for the forest.  This saves the taxpayer money in the long run and enhances family recreation.  It is sweat equity and family involvement at its best.

You can help save Smokey Creek.

*****Action Items:

-----1.  Call and fax Secretary of Agriculture, Michael O. Johanns.  Call (202) 720-3631.  Fax: (202) 720-2166.  E-mail:  mike.johanns@usda.gov

-----2.  Call or fax Mark Rey, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment. He is in charge of the Forest Service.  His phone number is (202) 720-7173.  The fax is:  (202) 720-4732.  mark.rey@usda.gov.  The question for him is why the Bush Administration is supporting the removal of recreation uses from our Federal lands.  This is not consistent with our understanding of Bush Administration policy.   It is certainly not why people voted for President Bush.

The Agriculture Department must be deluged with calls.

-----3.  Call, fax and e-mail Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).  Senator Cantwell is up for re-election.  Ask her to show her support for family recreation and access to the forests by stopping the closure and burning of Smokey Creek.  Call her at (202) 224-3441.  Her fax is (202) 228-0514.   Send her a message at http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/index.html or go to http://cantwell.senate.gov/

-----4.  Call, fax or e-mail both your Senators about this terrible Forest Service "exclusive use policy."  Any Senator may be called (202) 224-3121.

----5.  Call, fax and e-mail Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA).  Smokey Creek is in his district.   He's been working hard to save Smokey Creek and needs your letters of support.  He has asked for a 60 day extension on the permit so there is more time to consider alternatives to burning down the camp.  You can call (202) 225-2816.  His fax number is (202) 225-3251.   The staff person working hard on this issue is Martin Doern  (martin.doern@mail.house.gov).

-----6.  Call, fax and e-mail your own Congressman urging him to support Rep. Hastings and save Smokey Creek.   Any Congressman may be called at (202) 225-3121.  Tell them to ask the Forest Service to extend the Smokey Creek CCC Camp permit.  Ask for their fax and e-mail when you call.

*****
Ask your Congressman to request that the Forest Service extend the Smokey Creek permit.  Ask him or her not to let the FS burn down the historic Smokey Creek CCC Camp.   Help stop the huge nationwide plan by the Forest Service to get rid of what they call "exclusive use" in all National Forests.  This plan will affect your local forests also.

*****
Why should you bother to call or send a fax or e-mail about an issue that may be remote to you?  Because the fight to continue special use permits and recreation access to our Federal lands is the fight of every one who cares about family recreation in the forests.  

Everyone who shares these concerns of losing recreation access should fight back.  Those who are saved will be there to fight for you when you are under attack.  It is a team game.  If you don't play it that way, you are certain to lose your access over time. The Forest Service will divide and conquer you. 

As Benjamin Franklin said, "If we don't all hang together, we will most assuredly hang separately."

Call every day this week and next. The Agriculture Department phones must ring off the hook.  The Bush Administration must be held accountable for removing recreation from our forests and throwing families out.

You can make a difference by making your calls and getting others to do the same.   Call your friends and neighbors.

This is your chance to really make a difference.

The Bush Administration appears to be afraid to stand up to Forest Service bureaucrats who have a bias to get rid of users of the forest.  This is cultural cleansing.  They lock them out. 

Please forward this message as widely as you can. 

Time is critical.  We can win together if you make your calls.   Thank you

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